Will Garrett-Petts email@example.com February 12, 2007 4:26:24 AM EST Professor and Chair of English & Modern Languages Thompson Rivers University C/O English & Modern Languages Box 3010, 900 McGill Road Kamloops, B.C. V2C 5N3 Canada
Donald Lawrence firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Professor, Visual Arts Department of Visual & Performing Arts Thompson Rivers University C/O Faculty of Arts Box 3010, 900 McGill Road Kamloops, B.C. V2C 5N3 Canada
The Kamloops Tranquille Project and The Exotic Close to Home in Victoria The neighbourhoods of Kamloops formed the basis for much of the research of the Small Cities Community-University Research Alliance (CURA), and are the subject of such new research projects as "Mapping Quality of Life and the Culture of Small Cities" Those neighbourhoods are inevitably defined against the surrounding landscape and its geological history. In the essay for a catalogue that accompanied the Kamloops exhibition "The Homeless Mind: An Exploration Through Memory Mapping," W.F. Garrett-Petts and Donald Lawrence observed that the city's geological history, inscribed as a kind of physical memory, announces itself, becomes part of the artist's "vigilant self-awareness" and an insistent counterpart to the urban geometry of streets, highways, fences, rail lines, telephone wires, neighborhoods, and buildings.
The larger geological and geographical setting of Kamloops is one characterized by a semi-arid climate, with sagebrush and ponderosa pine forming a typical covering for the bench lands and hills that rise above the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers. Their valleys remain as a trace of early geological activity that, fifty to two hundred million years ago, saw the locale of present day Kamloops not as an interior desert-like environment but, rather, as an archipelago of primarily volcanic islands on the fringe of the continent.
In two related projects, and working collaboratively as artist-researchers, Lawrence and Garrett-Petts are undertaking an investigation of two "contact zones."
1) In a new project (a collaboration with Sociologist David Maclennan) that builds upon earlier CURA research, the geological traces of Kamloops' past are taken as a littoral zone of contact between land and ocean, and the more recent history of the Tranquille Creek landscape as a shifting site of social responses to the landscape that exists at the edge of the City.
2) Jimmy Chicken Island and Fiddle Reef are part of an island archipelago that defines Oak Bay just off Victoria. During a project this past summer at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria these islands presented the possibility of recovering the exotic close to home. Lawrence and Garrett-Petts first explored, documented and mapped these islands as a means of entering into a process of re-imagining early experiences of of them through through writing, video installation, and the on-site creation of a model in the Gallery.
Such mapping and documentation constitutes a vernacular counterpart to the existing published sources pertaining to the geological history as well as much of the social history of these sites. In both projects the public have been or will be engaged as active participants in these research/projects, thereby extending the artist/researcherï¿½s interests into a broader investigation of embedded public and private histories.